Reporting Joan Murray
DAVIE (CBS4) – It’s mission accomplished.
Florida Department of Transportation construction crews successfully lifted a five million pound flyover ramp on I-595 over the weekend to make way for additional lanes underneath. The process took 24 hours and led to the highway being completely shut down along with University Drive.
“It went extremely smoothly. I’m happy the public was patient,” said FDOT project director Paul Lampley.
From late Saturday night until late Sunday night, crews used hydraulic lifts to raise the flyover slowly and carefully to keep the bridge intact. But it was open on time for the busy Monday morning commute.
The eastbound flyover will be closed for 120 days while crews work night and day to complete that portion of the 595 improvement project.
“It’s an extreme amount of work, the crews work 24 hours a day for the next 120 days. They have to demolish 250 feet of existing bridge and they have to rebuild the foundation. We have to have traffic back before Thanksgiving,” explained Lampley.
The construction continues to be a challenge for drivers who have to navigate I-595 on a daily basis.
“It’s very chaotic. Not many people know how to drive so it gets aggravating,” says Caitlin O’Keefe.
“What should have been a ten minute drive turned into half an hour,” added Ashley Rolf.
“It’s a real big mess. There aren’t enough signs to know which road to go,” said Charles Peebles.
The owner of Allure Day Spa off I-595 and University Drive can’t wait for all the construction to be done so she can get back on track. Martha Price said because many of her clients have to use I-595 to get to her shop, it sometimes has a domino affect on her daily operations.
“There are delays, people can’t make it on time. This impacts people’s appointment times.
We have to make phone calls,” said Price. “Clients often have to make changes on their route to get here. The project managers have kept us informed and I think when it’s all done, it will be a good thing for business.”
It’s all part of the I-595 Express Corridor Improvement Project to create new reversible express lanes. The nearly two billion dollar project is expected to be done by early 2014. When complete the new I-595 will accommodate up to 300,000 cars a day. Right now, approximately 180,000 drivers use I-595 on a daily basis.
The Lettman family has used I-595 for years and sees the project as a great benefit for Broward County.
“At the rate Broward is growing and the amount of people, in the long run it will prove very efficient,” says Alissa Lettman.